Group Play 5.1 Into the Crypt

Image by Tom Scholes

This Expedition:

The group leaves Medeba Basin to descend into the nearby Crypt of Bethor. This is my own adventure that is available on itch. Caution — adventure spoilers ahead.

Our Companions:

Rendmoor, a burnt-coral mycomorph with aphrodisiac flesh. Re-animated from the corpse of a plague victim. Wields cryokinetic powers. Driven by the desire to live and feed.

Faustyn, a golden janitor-synth. Vampiric and cannibalistic. The demise of his kin is the source of his mystical powers. Believes that all memories are a lie. Desires to liberate the local inhabitants from water-oppression and put them back in control of their reservoirs.

Nirid, a veracious true-kin. Protector of the purity of his kind. Armed with a blasphemous fungal spear and the gift of healing hands. Possesses a weird orb and a fascination of necrotech.

The Tale:

Last session, our travellers found their way out of Complex 51 and returned to the oasis settlement of Medeba Basin with Yudhi, the Faa elder.

They learn that the mask and the horn are required to for Yudhi to summon a sandworm to their aid.

The mask is with the Dathan family, somewhere in the desert. They might be able to do without it. But the horn is essential. And it is rumoured to be somewhere hidden nearby. It might even be in the Crypt of Bethor II, which is located beneath the (now ruined) stone statue outside of Medeba. Also, there is word of a small army of fungal men that might be recruited from the bowels of this crypt. The Crypt was constructed at the tail end of the Collapse, when a mycelic plague filled graves faster than they could be dug. The rich rulers, like Bethor, at least found some way to commemorate themselves before their pox-ridden corpses vanished beneath the blue dunes along with the rest.

Many dark tales abound about the horrors of the Great Collapse (Image by Kunrong Yap)

The three approach the huge stone statue in search of the horn and some allies to help with their insurrection agains the Hegemony and the Hinnom Cartel. Just last night, they had blown its top off, which had caused a shower of tiny, dismembered mycomorphs. As they climb into the ominous entrance of the beheaded statue, Nirid, the true-kin volunteers to go in and scout first. Faustyn, the synth, stays behind to keep watch. Rendmoor follows Nirid to the entrance, but keeps his eyes

Faustyn is approached by a disheveled Faa child. His bioscanner goes off and alerts him that this is not a Faa, but a synth. He is soon locked in combat with a deadly child-sized assassin-synth and Rendmoor saves the day with his gravity gun, ripping the little tike’s arm off and slapping it to death with the severed limb.

After a small breather, they decide to all head into Bethor’s crypt. Much to Nirid’s chagrin, the air is polluted with tiny, floating spores. They make their way through monsters, traps, and claustrophobic rooms, including random gaggles of exploding, glob-hurling, and skull-smashing enemies. I used my own set dice minigame in a few lockpicking traps. It is worth noting that the environment gets deadlier as the characters go down in levels. The mycelic growths, and monsters, change colour and grow larger. The draftless air thickens with increasing amounts of spores. But thankfully Nirid has an oxygen mask, Rendmoor is a mycomorph, and Faustyn’s ventilators are working overtime.

Almost near the bottom, the travellers encounter a helpful being named Moudan. It turns out he is a chamberlain-synth, an aide to Giolla. Giolla is the First-Wife of Exarch Bethor II. The two ruled Yom (along with Sabini, the Second-Wife) before it collapsed under the strain of a fungal plague. Moudan suspects that Giolla, taken by hatred of Bethor his new wife Sabini, doomed the exarchate to death by invited a diabolic plague upon the whole land. Moudan offers to help the party if they promise to kill Giolla. The party accepts and agrees to hunt her down.

“Giolla, Moudan, and Bethor” by me

Finally, the group enters the last room, the resting place of Bethor II. So far, they haven’t seen either of the Wives. But that might soon change, for the last room is a hotbed of activity. Three Mystics of the College of Indigo Tigers leer over Bethor’s sarcophagus, engaging in some resurrection ritual. Meanwhile, uncountable mycomorphs of all shapes and sizes lurch from their resting spots.

A battle ensues as the party tries to kill the Indigo Mystics (Moudan’s suggestion). The newly-risen mycomorphs impede this with a dense, tangled brawl. Then, Giolla arrives behind the party and also throws herself into the fray. The party sinks dangerously close to receiving dire wounds. But surprisingly none of them drop. They dispatch all but one of the Mystics and outright slay Giolla.

Bethor interprets this as a rescue, and since he never really liked Giolla, decides to reward the party with some favours. They receive some exotica and a small detail of mycomorph infantry, loyal to death.

But still, Yudhi’s dunehorn evades their discovery.

The region for our campaign. Generated with the Vaarn Region Generator.

Afternote: It was great to run my own adventure with this group. It was my first time running it, ever. Probably something I should have done before releasing it on itch, but hey, it’s a pwyw product. The Crypt worked well. It is small and can definitely be done in one session. And it seems that it is just deadly enough. A couple of players almost went down with bad wounds. But they were all Level 3. It advertises as a Level 2 adventure, so I think it would give a 2nd-level party a run for its money.

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